Apart from François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, the two major party front-runners, the French have eight other candidates to choose from.
Two can hurt the big parties badly; Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front Nationale can take votes from Sarkozy, while Jean Luc-Melanchon has unified the far-left.
Only one other candidate, the centrist François Bayrou, can hope to reach double figures, while the French Greens have been unable to translate broader appeal for their policies around Europe into the political support some European Green allies have gathered. Eva Joly may only get a few percentage points support.
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan’s technocrat appeal appears to have fallen on deaf ears, while leftists like Phillipe Poutou and Nathalie Arthaud, and another centrist Jacques Cheminade have failed to make a breakthrough. They have all been able to convince 500 mayors or more to back their candiatures.
This is the first French presidential election where five canddiates have had a 10 percent of more share of the vote, so the result could be closer than predicted.